Doubts in Anthrax Case Linger | NBC New York

Doubts in Anthrax Case Linger

The Feds' evidence against Dr. Bruce Ivins raises doubts and fears



    Once again the FBI has tried to present a convincing case portraying Dr. Bruce Ivins as the man behind the anthrax attacks that terrorized the nation and killed five people in the weeks following 9/11. Not surprisingly, doubts remain.

    "I don’t think we're ever going to put the suspicions to bed," Vahid Majidi, head of the Feds' WMD division, told <a href=""target="_blank">the New York Times</a>. "There's always going to be a spore on a grassy knoll."

    Among the chief problems Ivins' colleagues have with the allegations is their contention that while Ivins had access to anthrax, he lacked the technical know-how to weaponize the deadly spores by grinding them into a fine powder and coating them with silica.

    The Feds contend that the strain of anthrax Ivins used is naturally fine -- which means that anthrax poses a far greater threat than even they previously suspected. As for the silica, they insist it was naturally absorbed from the environment in which it was prepared. But if silica absorption is something anthrax does on its own, why weren't scientists able to replicate this phenomena in the lab?

    Perhaps the scariest aspect of the case against Ivins is that its built almost entirely on a sample he gave to investigators more than six years ago.

    "Looking in hindsight, we would do things differently today," said Majidi.

    To date, the most damning -- and tragic -- piece of irrefutable evidence against Ivins may be his suicide.